25 July 2013

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue
Release Date: September 13, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Source: Bought
Goodreads Stars: 3
Rating: Enjoyable
Buy it: Amazon UK

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another. - Goodreads
Today I'm five.
I went into Room knowing very little about it. As you may know, I don't read synopses of books that I haven't read, nor do I tend to read reviews unless they're from a trusted source. I like to go in with a completely clean slate. So when I started this and discovered it's told from a young child's perspective, I was a bit thrown off. But in a good way, I promise.

This is one of those books that I'm going to have to split up into sections in order to review it, because it's quite difficult for me to get my thoughts straight.

Things I Liked:

- Seeing things from Jack's perspective
I can't remember the last time I read a book from a five year old's point of view. I wonder if I ever have, even when I was that age myself. It provided a really unique view of the kidnapping situation that I really enjoyed catching a glimpse of. Room was Jack's entire world, it's all he had ever known, and it was kind of scary to think about it like that. He thought the people on the news were made up, and that he and his mother were the only people in existence. Apart from Old Nick, of course.

- Jack's way of thinking
This kind of ties in with the above point, but I want to elaborate. Some of the events that occur in this book could have been totally disturbing if they had been told from Jack's mother's perspective, but since they were told from Jack's, it was another level entirely. Because he's only a boy, the stuff he came out with was quite crude, and other stuff was really innocent. It made me cringe at times, and it also upset me a bit because I knew what was going on while the bed was creaking, but Jack didn't. It was implied, and really that made it worse because it allowed for my imagination to run wild.

- Jack's character growth
I loved seeing Jack grow as his own world and perspective did. It was intriguing, and I really enjoyed the way the author did this so gradually, even if the event that changed his life was, in itself, rather abrupt. It was so lovely to see Jack discover all these new things that he never knew about before, and his experience with learning manners was adorable.

- The lack of understanding and support from Ma's family
I felt like this was totally realistic in this situation, although I'm definitely not qualified to judge. They didn't understand what Ma had been through at all, and often used their own limited understanding of Ma's feelings and experience to judge her and how she was acting. It was heartbreaking to read about Ma's own family treat her and Jack that way, especially the grandmother, but it also made the book and relationships in it more realistic.

Things I Didn't Like:

- The writing style didn't really grip me
Maybe it was because the book was told from Jack's POV, but I wasn't completely drawn in. I mean, sure, I enjoyed reading the book, but I could easily put it down and come back to it later. It didn't feel all that intense to me, nor was it gripping.


  1. Whenever I see this book around on Goodreads, I'm always tempted to pick it up, but I didn't know if it was really good, and like you said, I didn't have a reliable source to ask either. So thanks for the review! :)

    I get what you mean about the POV. When the book's written from the POV of a kid, I often find that I cant connect with it as much as I would like (The Book - Jessica Bell), but sometimes it just hits the nail and I get blown away (Wonder - R. J. Palacio)!

    From the sound of it, it sounds like Room will be an interesting read, despite the little snag :)

  2. I read this book last year and I was completely unprepared for it. It broke my heart. But I'm glad I read it. Great review.

  3. A friend gave me Room a few years ago, and it sounds as though my experience reading it was pretty similar to yours. I thought it was so clever on Donoghue's part to tell this story through the eyes of a child. It almost became like unreliable narration, in a way, simply because as the reader I kept trying to figure out what was actually happening based on Jack's limited understanding of the world. It is a tough book, though, and the writing style made it a bit harder for me to truly connect with the characters. Definitely a unique read, though. And I liked the fact that the story continued after they were rescued - which I feel like is where so many of these types of stories do end.

  4. My friend picked this book to read for our next book club. From your review, it should be an interesting discussion book. Great review!


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